Waiting for the Babel Fish: Languages and Multilingualism

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http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/11/05/reminder-speaking-tuesday-at-web2open-berlin/

Published in: Technology, Business

Waiting for the Babel Fish: Languages and Multilingualism

  1. 1. Waiting for the Babel Fish Stephanie Booth
  2. 2. Internet: Space Cruncher <ul><ul><li>Freedom from spatial constraints </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>more intercultural contact </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>change of initial obstacle: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>space language </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Linguistic Borders <ul><ul><li>Online, the strongest borders are linguistic. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Some multilingual people act as bridges. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How could our tools assist them in their task? </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Misconceptions <ul><ul><li>But everybody speaks English! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>country = language </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Geographical Abuse <ul><ul><li>IP => country => language, right? </li></ul></ul>country != language bad localisation
  6. 6. Countries are important, but... <ul><ul><li>for language: one factor amongst several </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>for laws: very important </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>taxes & censorship </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Examples: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>- shipping </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>- porn </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Guilty: Amazon
  8. 8. Guilty: eBay
  9. 9. Guilty: PayPal
  10. 10. Guilty: Google Google.ch => DE Blogger in France => FR
  11. 11. L10n advice for Tool Builders <ul><ul><li>localise early, localise smart </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>plan non-EN from the start (not an afterthought) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>language != country </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>regional variations (fr-fr, fr-ch, fr-qc, fr-be...) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>involve the community </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>in-house « linguist » </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>smart user language detection </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Detecting User Language <ul><ul><li>Specified by: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>profile (tool-side) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>browser preferences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>OS/browser language </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>geographical location </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>one language? n languages? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>priority? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>how proficient? </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Using Browser Language Prefs We need more of this.
  14. 14. What are my languages? <ul><ul><li>know / don't know (too binary) </li></ul></ul>Know? Speak? Read? Write? Read a book? A newspaper article? Have a conversation? Write a letter? Write a book? Give a talk?
  15. 15. Multilingual Humans <ul><ul><li>Who is multilingual? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>more multilinguals than monolinguals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Being human among humans means living in a state of ever incomplete multilingualism. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mario Wandruszka </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Monolingual Silos <ul><ul><li>isn't the internet multilingual? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>multilingual community </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li><> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>multilingual people </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>multiple monolingual spaces </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li><> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>mixing languages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>where do we fit in? </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Blogging Tools: WordPress <ul><li>well localised </li></ul><ul><li>language is a blog-level attribute </li></ul><ul><li>assumes you blog in one language </li></ul><ul><li>no in-built strategies for mixing languages </li></ul><ul><li>=> 1 blog per language </li></ul><ul><li>a solution: other-language excerpts </li></ul><ul><li>translation is too hard </li></ul><ul><li>keeps mono&multi audience quite happy </li></ul><ul><li>keeps the bridge-blogger very happy </li></ul>
  18. 18. Presence Tools: Twitter <ul><li>not localised => adoption issue </li></ul><ul><li>non-EN communities present </li></ul><ul><li>language filtering? </li></ul><ul><li>language detection? </li></ul>
  19. 19. L10n Insufficient <ul><li>Localisation: </li></ul><ul><li>translation of the interface into another language </li></ul><ul><li>monolingual in various languages </li></ul><ul><li>« Multilingualisation »: (yes, it's ugly) </li></ul><ul><li>mixing languages </li></ul><ul><li>manages code-switching </li></ul><ul><li>different language combinations </li></ul>
  20. 20. We're Already Doing It! <ul><li>Even if our tools aren't made for it </li></ul><ul><li>we're already acting out </li></ul><ul><li>our multilingualism online </li></ul>one web page != one language one person/user != one language
  21. 21. Same Page Translation
  22. 22. A Review in Two Languages
  23. 23. Twittering
  24. 24. Twittering
  25. 25. Quoting Foreign Language Sources
  26. 26. Blogging Bilingually
  27. 27. ...Or Worse
  28. 28. Multilingual Social Network
  29. 29. MMORPG Chat
  30. 30. Commenting on a Blog Post
  31. 31. Commenting on a Blog Post
  32. 32. Commenting on a Flickr Photo
  33. 33. Lost in Translation
  34. 34. The Multilingual Challenge <ul><ul><li>Making a space both: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>multilingual-friendly </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>monolingual-friendly </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How do we keep everybody happy? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>different language combinations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>different language skills </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No solution is perfect for everybody. </li></ul></ul>
  35. 35. Going Multilingual a strategic and technical problem <ul><li>Strategic </li></ul><ul><li>how do we allow languages to mix? </li></ul><ul><li>what do we translate? </li></ul><ul><li>what do we show people? </li></ul><ul><li>how do people define their language skills? </li></ul><ul><li>how do people define what they want to see? </li></ul><ul><li>Technical </li></ul><ul><li>design (space use, functionality, usability!) </li></ul><ul><li>encoding </li></ul><ul><li>lang, hreflang (HTML) </li></ul><ul><li>language detection </li></ul><ul><li>automated translation </li></ul>Remember. Most people are multilingual.
  36. 36. Bonne route ! <ul><li>Flickr Photo Credits </li></ul><ul><li>romerican </li></ul><ul><li>Antoon Kuper </li></ul><ul><li>Hobvias Sudoneighm </li></ul><ul><li>Grant MacDonald </li></ul><ul><li>Zoom Zoom </li></ul><ul><li>A JC </li></ul><ul><li>Claude Covo-Farchi </li></ul><ul><li>Stephanie Booth </li></ul><ul><li>Lausanne, Switzerland </li></ul><ul><li>http://climbtothestars.org </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Skype: steph-booth </li></ul>Web2Open, 06.11.2007 Berlin, DE

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